Government considers €60m windfall tax on energy companies as bills soar

Seen & Heard: Jay Bourke’s debts, Gan’s results, and homes at O’Devaney Gardens also make the headlines

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is considering slapping energy suppliers with windfall tax bills to the tune of €60 million to help pay for Government supports for households struggling with soaring electricity and gas bills, the Sunday Times reported.

Mr Donohoe said in a parliamentary question last week that officials in his Department "are evaluating the potential for such a proposal", following on from European Commission approval for temporary tax measures on energy utility companies to help provide consumers with relief from high prices. A 10 per cent tax would generate €60 million, based on energy providers' 2020 tax returns, the report said.

Jay Bourke vows to fight €12m debt
The Business Post reports that bars and restaurant entrepreneur Jay Bourke, who is facing bankruptcy over €558,000 of debt owed to Revenue, has insisted he will fight the source of his financial woes: a €12 million debt arising from his boom-era joint purchase of Co Meath hotel Bellinter House.

The hotel loans are now ultimately owed to Goldman Sachs and stem from borrowings taken out by the businessman, late music promoter John Reynolds and father-and-son property developers, Paddy and Simon Kelly.


Mr Bourke insists that the liability was settled in 2015 as part of a deal in which the co-owners sold the property for €3 million.

He spoke less than a week after a High Court application seeking approval of financial restructuring plan that would write off Mr Bourke's €13.7 million debts was withdrawn as the manager of the €12 million loan, Pepper Finance, objected to the arrangement.

"It's like something from Merchant of Venice," the paper quoted the businessman as saying, referring to the William Shakespeare play where a creditor asks for a pound of flesh as repayment for a loan.

“I live fairly modestly; I like sailing and gardening and art . . . I don’t want to go bankrupt.”

Smurfit family-backed Gan finds 'errors' in preliminary results
The Sunday Independent reported that Gan, the gambling and gaming technology company led by Dermot Smurfit jr and backed by members of the wider Smurfit packaging family, has disclosed to investors that it has discovered errors in its preliminary 2021 results, which could force it to revise its losses upwards by up to $5.7 million (€5.2 million).

The company has disclosed in a filing with the US Securities Exchange Commission that it may have to increase its previously-reported and unaudited net loss of $24.9 million up to $30.6 million. Gan said that management had concluded a “material weakness” existed in its internal control over financial reporting as of the end of three quarterly periods last year. It added that it needed more time to complete its annual report.

Ban on sale of O'Devaney Gardens homes to funds is lifted
An Bord Pleanála has lifted a ban on the sale of more than 500 homes being developed on the public lands of the former O'Devaney Gardens site in Dublin to institutional investment funds, according to the Business Post.

The planning authority had originally stipulated in September 2021 that homes being developed by property group Bartra on the site, near the Phoenix Park, could not be sold to a "corporate entity". Half of the 1,047 homes had already been earmarked for social and affordable housing.

Bartra subsequently lodged a judicial review with the High Court to get the clause removed – and the case remains live. However, An Bord Pleanála has modified its decision, clarifying that apartments from the development can be sold to an institutional investor.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times